Conventional Items
As quick as markets spiked , demand was squashed, leading to unexpected availability and receding prices. Some shippers are offering heavily discounted deals to revive demand while others remain firm. The volatility will likely continue with legitimate shortages still looming if demand returns to even close to normal. Quality issues remain although most are being contained at field level. We anticipate markets to steady once sustainable pricing returns. Transition to the Central Valley California will begin in a couple weeks as well as Las Cruces , New Mexico to help supplement supplies.
Leaf Lettuce
Romaine   Demand for carton and heart romaine continues to be strong mostly due to acreage cutbacks and reduced yields due to heat related stress. Reduced quality will continue to impact supplies through October. Fringe and tip burn, increased high core, twist and high levels of insect pressure causing discoloration, disease and rib decay.  Most of the defects have been able to be trimmed in the field but more insect damage is being found inside layers. Expect quality issues and escalated prices to continue well into October. The above photo is an extreme case of soil disease affecting fields
Red leaf, Green leaf and Boston  plantings were negatively impacted by the heat and have shown signs of tip burn and wilt. Prices have escalated , especially Greenleaf as Eastern production areas come to a close in coming weeks. .
Currently there is good availability out of both Santa Maria and Salinas. Prices are slightly lower out of Santa Maria.  Everything looks pretty good with nice green color and good weights coming out of both growing regions.
Production of the thornless varieties has been hampered by successive high temperature events resulting in reduced quality and sizing. We don’t expect any significant volume on larger sizes until the fall .
There should be better availability going into next week as growers work through the pin rot issues that have inhibited their harvest for the last three weeks. Look for prices to come off slightly but the cooler nights and shorter days will help keep numbers in check so we won’t see any dramatic price drops, just a gradual decline going into next week. We estimate to start our Shui Ling broccoli crown program shipping out of Central Mexico loading in Pharr,TX around October 19.
There are a lot of inquiries about cauliflower but business has not been brisk enough the last few days for buyers to pull the trigger and purchase. Expectations are for markets to begin to increase by the end of the week and for sure next week. If you need to purchase don’t wait too much longer as we will see an increase in prices soon.
Brussels Sprouts
Coastal California supplies continue to improve with a mix of quality and sizing as pricing remains competitive. Supplies are expected to improve as well as demand as we enter the Fall season. An Increase in insect pressure may lead to quality issues but currently quality is mostly good.
Green Onions
Mexico growers continue their reduced summer acreage. Pricing remains mostly steady. We expect production to increase in a couple weeks as seasonal demand improves heading into the Fall.
Limited supplies will continue into next week. Many shippers are sold out or oversold for the remainder of this week and it will carry over into next week. Northern California fruit is seeing end-of-season issues such as heavier bruising and softness. Santa Maria, California, fruit has occasional bruising, white shoulders, and soft shoulders. Oxnard is starting in a small way this week with their fall crop, and will ramp up over the next few weeks. As long as temperatures do not get too extreme, we should see more fruit the of October 9th.
Production is still falling with relief coming with new-crop Michoacán starting in 2-3 weeks. Expect the peak period to be reached mid November.
Peruvian imports are starting to ramp up, but Mexico is still a few weeks behind so the market will hold steady, but we should see better volume by mid October.
Mexican production is slowly increasing in volume as we transition from California to Mexico.
Stone Fruit
Yellow peaches and yellow nectarines are finished for the season. White nectarines are finishing up this week. There are some white peaches available in limited numbers, but shippers are picky as to where they go. Late season red and black plums will continue through December. Production is good on 40 count and larger. Quality is good on plums overall with very few issues to report on arrival.
Good volume this week on most red and green grape varieties. We expect consistent supplies and pricing as we head into the next few weeks, followed by lighter supplies around the last week of October. Black seedless varieties are finishing up and supplies are expected to tighten early next week. High volumes are currently being harvested in the California central valley and there are multiple varieties to choose from. Quality has been very nice. There have been excellent quality reports, with very few issues to report industry wide.
Oranges – heavy demand on oranges this week as supplies continue to dry up and production gaps widen. Small sizes are extremely difficult to find, with slightly better supplies on large sizes. The Chilean crop has been limited, with no relief in sight for the near future. Demand from South American countries has been so high that is it affecting their export supplies. Quality on valencias has been suffering as product is exposed to late summer heat and the season comes to a close.
Lemons – Plenty of supplies industry wide and shippers are looking to move inventories. The lemon market is still being severely affected by restaurant and bar closures. There are plenty of deals on small sized fruit and shippers are listening to offers. Quality is very nice coming out of multiple growing areas.
Limes – Plenty of small limes available and shippers are listening to offers. Good availability is expected for the next few weeks. Some color issues have been reported, but the overall defects are minimal. Run offers by us on limes.
Transition time is upon us. A few Westside shippers are in their last fields and should be finishing within a week. Others will continue to pull fruit from the last of their fields but with less yields. Desert has one shipper in Central AZ starting with exceptionally large fruit peaking on jbo 6s, although the next pass in those fields should start to produce more jbo 9s and 9s. Quality, as it has all year, remains good. Demand has slowed accordingly due reaction to higher prices and more autumnal mindset from buyers and consumers. Thus, in spite of light supplies pricing has calmed a bit. Next week supplies should be even lighter as more Westside shippers wrap up. Most desert shippers are not expected to start until mid October. Mexico as well. We look for a steady to possibly slightly lower market next week.
Dews are following the cantaloupe narrative with Westside finishing, Desert starting in a small way, but with only one supplier and others not starting until mid October. Sizes are skewing large especially in the early desert deal. Mexico is starting as well. Quality is less consistent than lopes but still good. Demand continue to slow up as higher prices, less than optimal sizing and seasonal change keeps it in check. We look for a steady but uneasy market next week on honeydews
Dry Onions
The Harvest is almost over in Washington State with about 2 weeks left. Most houses are filling orders on what they have the day of shipping, so some of the supplies are a little spotty. Cities like Chicago and few other spots are starting to let people dine in doors with 40 % capacity. We’ll see if there are any spikes in Covid infections and the future will be devised by those incidents. Oregon and Washington are getting into better sizing and the jumbo market may feel the effects in the short run, the mostly market is holding steady with decent action in sales. Reds are rocking along in the 5 to 6-dollar range and whites
are a little tight. As the economy opens, the demand should start to increase, and, depending on the ebb and flow of the storage crop, we could see much higher pricing as demands grows. On the other hand, suffice to say we know what happens if the virus gets a strangled hold on the economy again.
Everything I said last week is wrong this week. Having taken a lot of ad business for the 1st of the month, we thought the market would be able to supply the demand…Oh no…we are short and prorating orders. There are a lot of 99 cent ads going and cooler weather has cause production to drop in Mexico. Peru is going strong but the folks that put Mexican grass on ad will suffer next week.
Organic Items
OG Broccoli & Cauliflower
Cauliflower and Broccoli    Broccoli production continues to suffer from poor quality. We expect some improvement when the weather cools although it could be another couple weeks. Prices are likely to settle at current levels until we transition to Southern California . Cauliflower production remains steady with improving demand and rising prices . We anticipate improved Demand to continue to push pricing higher heading into October
OG Herbs & Bunch Greens
Availability and pricing appear to be mostly steady with local homegrown production expected to continue for another couple weeks.
OG Root Vegetables
Carrot production has been steady and demand continues to spike as carrots offer a great grab and go option as well as being a staple commodity in the USDA Farm to Family Food Program. Continue to plan even further ahead to get partial coverage. Carrots mostly come from Central Valley of California which fires should not affect although Hot weather will likely impact the tops of the bunched carrots
Potato and Onions  Markets continue to be strong as well as demand for retail packs. Northwest production continues to be limited.  We expect shortages and advancing prices through the Fall.
OG Leaf and Iceberg Lettuce
Leaf, Iceberg & Romaine   Demand for romaine remains strong especially hearts with lighter supplies due to last week’s heatwave, reduced acres, increased insect pressure and diminished quality . Green and Red quality has suffered more so than Romaine with production lighter although demand remains moderate for now.
OG Citrus
Lemons, Oranges, Limes and Grapefruit Demand continues to be strong throughout the Citrus category due to retail sales. Mexico’s lemon crop is peaking with mostly Fancy supplies. Many shippers have shifted production exclusively to bags on All Citrus. Lime quality remains inconsistent but has shown signs of improvement. Valencias sizing profile has been leaning toward the smaller sizes which has benefitted increased demand for bags at retail. We anticipate Navels to begin next month.
OG Grapes
California:   Central Valley production remains strong with moderate demand. We expect excellent flavor, quality and size to last through most of October before sizing and quality declines.  the Summer with promotional volume available. Off sizes and reduced quality grapes continue to be available at discounted prices.
OG Melons
California:   Cantaloupes, Honeydew, Watermelon production has been hampered by heat and smokey skies restricting plant growth much of the past month. With only a few weeks left in the California season we should see one last wave in production before the season comes to an early close.
Produce West Inc. | 831-455-2981 | 831-455-1666 | www.producewest.com

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